The fire season is upon us and, with severe drought conditions in some parts of the country, it has the potential to be an ugly one. If you’re planning on flying in the late summer and early fall, before any regular precipitation starts to fall, you need to be aware of the fire potential and keep a watchful eye.
Before you take off, make sure you make a call to the Flight Service Station to get a last minute update on any temporary flight restrictions in the area. The TFR information on your tablet may not be quite as up to date as what Lockheed Martin’s employees have in front of them. And a TFR may have popped up since you were checking the weather on your computer at home.
As you are cruising along, keep an eye out for smoke indicating a potential fire that may not yet have been reported. The sooner the firefighters can get to the scene, the more likely the fire can be contained to a smaller area. You can report the fire directly to the controller you are communicating with or to the nearest Flight Service Station frequency and the information will be passed on to the appropriate facility.
Also, if you see smoke or fire in flight, stay well clear of it. If firefighting airplanes and helicopters have not already arrived at the scene they are likely on their way, and you don’t want to get in their way.
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